Posted by: Brad Beaman | October 13, 2015

Keep Your Head in all situations

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At a time when I was in turmoil and much was coming apart at the seams around me I had a dream. In the dream one of my friends asked me what I was going to do in my situation. My friend had been steady and faithful for many years. In the dream I told my friend, I will do what you always did when things were falling apart around you, I will press on and remain faithful.

In the dream my friend laughed at my response. In real life when I told my friend about the dream they cried. There is a lot of emotion behind staying faithful when much is falling apart around you.

One of Paul’s last words recorded in the Bible was telling Timothy to keep his head in all situations.When I was going through this period of turmoil and the time I had this dream and it seemed like the situations were dire this verse really stood out to me.

But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship…. 2 Timothy 4:5 NIV

Just before this verse spoke to me I read Rudyard Kipling’s poem considered by many his best poem titled “If-.” It is Rudyard Kipling’s advice as a father to his son John. That first line reminds me of Paul’s words to Timothy.

“If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs and blaming it on you,” With this advice and thirty more lines of wisdom Kipling ends his poem with “you’ll be a Man my son!”

If I did not know the chronology of Paul and Rudyard Kipling I would have thought that Paul had been influenced by Kipling’s writings.

For Paul these words of advice came in the last chapter of the last book he wrote. The very next verse is where Paul refers to his departure. He does not expect to be alive very much longer. At the very end of his prolific writings he says, “Keep your head in all situations.”

The situation that Timothy faced was that men did not put up with sound doctrine and people were turning away from truth to follow myths. The situation that caused my stress when I had the dream I referred to above was very different. However Paul said here keep your head in all situations.

When I see the focus of others who teach on 2 Timothy 4 the focus is on evangelism, preaching the Word and rebuking. I can understand why the messages of 2 Timothy 4 focus on evangelism, preaching and rebuking, but I want to focus on what I see as important and under-emphasized part of the chapter. To keep your head in all situations and endure hardship.

I don’t know what you are going through right now. I do not know your situation. But I know this. You are to keep your head in that situation. You are to endure hardship. That is the often overlooked message of 2 Timothy 4.

Paul compares his journey walking with Jesus and making Him known to a fight and a race, 2 Timothy 4:7. If you want to see people lose their head in the situation then watch some fights or some races. Those two activities are very common places for someone to lose their cool (lose their head). But don’t lose your head. Not in any situation. Especially don’t lose control while you are fighting the good fight (living the Christian life).

Recently our family was on vacation. When we went out of the hotel in the morning of the first day the car was gone. We knew it had either been towed away or stolen. About five minutes later we realized we did not recognize our own car because it was one we borrowed from our friend. It had been there all along.

That night our daughter wrote a journal entry about the events of the day. She wrote we thought our car was towed or stolen, but thankfully we remained calm. Then she added, just kidding we freaked out. Each night of the vacation we recounted something that happened where we “freaked out”. Of all people I need to take Paul’s message to Timothy to heart. A modern translation could read, in all situations remain calm, don’t freak out.”

Avoid being reactive when things become heated. We are not to lose our head in this way. If in the very emotional situations you can be a steady calm presence then you are in a position to make the best of whatever the situation is. Not losing your head is a virtue of patience. Keeping your head in the heat of emotions is a spiritual discipline linked to the fruit of the Spirit of love, joy, peace and patience.

There are the very intense outburst situations that push our hot buttons where we need to be reminded to keep our head. Other times they could be crazy situations at work like lay-offs and early retirement and the emotional buzz of water cooler talk and rumor mill stories. Whatever your situation the response is the same, keep your head in that situation.

You can work on your own strategy to help keep your head. Some strategies are spiritual such as prayer times, walking in the fullness of the Holy Spirit and spending time in the Bible. Other strategies are practical, like walking or time in the outdoors where you can get away from the hardship that might cause you to lose your head. If you can keep your head in all situations you will excel.

Keep your head in all situations!

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